Flower Power

It’s been quite some time since I have written a journal that had over 30 pictures in it. Truth be told, the majority of them are of the wildflowers growing along side our road, hence the title of this weeks entry, but I hope you enjoy them all the same.

It has been another week of nearly ideal summer weather. Loads of sunshine all but one day and highs in the upper 70’s to mid 80’s. The only downside to this beautiful weather is that I have not done anything towards getting the shop, office and apartment closer to being done! I’m not exactly worrying about it. There will be time a plenty for that in a little over a month.

Another reason for not getting any inside work done is that all of my mornings this past week were once again taken up by bringing Grace down to the climbing program at MI Tech. She was bound and determined to get past “The Cube” and right away got to tackling it. I have to admit that I was pretty skeptical of her getting past it. Not because she lacks determination or skill, but because I was told by one of the instructors that very few climbers of any age get past it. That did not discourage her one bit from giving it her all and after at least a dozen tries, this was as far as she was able to get each time. Everyone was very impressed by her accomplishments and there are other programs going on in the gymnasium at the same time and some in those other activities would pause to watch her climb the cube. The final step in climbing the cube is a rather exhilarating drop and swing out away from the wall.  

Much of the rest of the week was spent lounging in the pool. With the weather being so nice, it is almost unavoidable to be out in the warm waters of the pool. Many evenings have also been spent with Nora and I hanging out in the pool and just chatting and relaxing. We did have a cloudy day on Thursday and did not go in the pool at all. Probably the first time in around 10 days.

So I mentioned that much of this weeks entry would be about the wildflowers growing along side our road. So here goes. I am not going to get too wordy in my narrative, rather I will just do my best to name the plant in the picture. First up is St. John’s Wort, poisonous to humans, pets and livestock. Here is common chicory. It’s no poisonous and is sometimes added to coffee or can even be eaten raw. Fireweed, so called because it’s seeds need to go through fire before they can germinate. St. John’s Wort is an invasive species and so is this next one, Giant Goldenrod. Common Yarrow is considered good luck in China and in Scotland is believed to have magical properties. It can be used in tea or brewed into beer, but should not be consumed in large quantities due to it being slightly toxic. 

Oxeye daisy, or Dog daisy, moon daisy, White daisy is toxic to dogs and slightly toxic to humans. Meadow buttercup is moderately toxic to humans, pets and livestock. At one point I believe this plant was called Indian paintbrush, but it’s current name is Fox-and-cubs. I do not believe it is toxic, but probably better to not ingest! It is actually planted in gardens. Meadow buttercup is mildly toxic to humans, pets and livestock. Here is it’s flower. This one is my favorite, Orange daylily or Tiger daylily. So called a daylily because each flower only lasts one day. Flowers are edible and actually contains more fats than most vegetable. The next is the best smelling of the lot, a Wild rose.

So that does it for the wildflower exhibition. However, there are more plants to show! The raspberries are in full production mode, although that mode seems to be some ready, some not quite yet. Nora’s green thumb and a lot of attention to watering has her planters all looking beautiful and really sprucing up the yard. Here is one by the bench and here is another. This is one hanging on the bird feeder and this is another. During the time bear are out, we stop feeding the birds because the bear get most of it! Here is another planter sitting on top of a twig chair made for Grace several years ago. She really loves her hanging baskets! A tub helps to fancy up the base of our electrical pole. Another hanging basket full of wave petunias. Last but not least among the flowering plants is the Bigleaf hydrangea that Nora nursed back to health. This spring it looked like is was all but dead, but some TLC has it blooming magnificently. The final plant I have to share is Ground elder. I really think it is cool looking and makes a great ground cover. 

Now for those of you that think I must be some kind of expert in local plants, I am far from it. All of my identification came from an app for my phone called “Picture This”. It is a really cool app that Nora found. You can snap a shot of a plant or flower or bring up a picture from your camera roll and the app identifies it and gives you a bunch of info on it. Both cool and handy. If I could remember all it tells me, then I really would be an expert!

Yesterday we had a humming bird hanging around one of the shepherds hooks with the flowers on them. Then she moved forward and was inches away from the window, just hovering. She must have seen her reflection and that caused her behavior. Nora was able to snap a few pictures of the gal hovering.

Another thing Grace and I worked on this week was cleaning up the sailboat we got from my brother who passed away just over a year ago. After it was all cleaned up, I build a cradle for it to sit on while we use the small utility trailer we have. The boat did not come with a trailer and the one we have would not have worked well on it’s own.

So yesterday we had the perfect conditions for the maiden voyage. I grew up on boats and this small sailboat, a sailfish, is not only extremely friendly to sail, it is one we had. So despite the fact that it has probably been over 25 years since I last sailed it, it would be like riding a bike to me. This would be the first time Grace would ever be on a sailboat and was somewhat nervous, but more excited. We launched and rigged the boat without any problems, Grace climbed aboard and then I climbed on. At that point, the boat tipped enough to cause me to roll backwards, off the boat and into the water! Don’t they say the hardest part about riding a bike is to just get going?! I was able to recover and plop myself onto the boat, get into the correct position and get us underway. 

We had a great sail, the wind was a little inconsistent, which caused for some changing of course more than would have been preferred, but Grace and I had a blast and I schooled her in a few things, besides how not to get into it! It is my hope to teach her to sail it so she can take it out on her own. Nora stayed on the dock while we sailed and spotted an eagle drop to the water, scoop up a fish and fly off with it. No matter how many times one sees that, it is always a magnificent sight. After around an hour and a half, Grace and I let the winds bring us back to port safe and sound. I have a feeling we will be doing a lot of sailing!

Good Night from the Keweenaw..